Six Years of Blogging – Here’s What That Looks Like

So today just happens to be my SIX YEAR blogoversary! Yep, I started this blog on July 11, 2011, on a whim, with very little planning or thought. In fact, I pretty much used the first name that popped into my head—I mean, come on! Who calls their blog “Books, Bones & Buffy”?? (I’ve come to regret that name, and yet I can’t bring myself to change it, for whatever reason.) I find it hard to believe I’m still blogging, and despite some ups and downs, I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.

So I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane, and share some of my favorite (and not so favorite) things about my blogging journey. And because it’s been six years, yes I am doing everything in sixes;-)

Let’s start with the obvious:

Favorite book read in each year of blogging:

(I must be crazy to try to decide my FAVORITE book of each year! Ugh)

2011 – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I wasn’t getting any review copies at this point, except from self-published authors, so the traditionally published books I read and reviewed were all purchased.

2012 – 11/22/63 by Stephen King. This book came out in 2011, but I didn’t get to it until the following year. This is also the only SK book I’ve read since I started blogging! (and I never wrote a review for it.)

2013 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab. This is still one of my all time favorite books.

2014 – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Boy, 2014 was a FANTASTIC year for reading! It was extremely hard to pick just one book.

2015 – Another tough year to pick, but after a little thought I’m going with Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. So good.

2016 – Last year I completely gave up on the “top ten” thing, and just listed my favorite books. Which makes it even harder to choose just one! But I think I’m going to have to say The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman.

Six Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

1. Giveaways posts = empty stats.

I’ll admit I used to run giveaways simply to inflate my post views. In the early days when I was trying to get on publishers’ lists for review copies, I wanted to make my numbers look good. And giveaways do that—for a limited time. But when the giveaway is over, all you’ve got left are your regular visitors who actually enjoy reading your reviews. Instead of increasing my readership, which is what I thought giveaways would do, I simply attracted “giveaway junkies” who came for the goods and promptly left, until the next giveaway.

2. Always send a “thank you” and a link to the publicists who send you review copies

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it took me a long time to realize I should be doing this, I’m not sure why. If a publicist is kind enough to send you an ARC, then always make sure to follow up after you post the review, thanking them for the review copy and also sending a link to your blog post. Even if you didn’t like the book.

3. Try your best to commit to promises, but don’t be afraid to apologize if you can’t follow through.

Bloggers are people, and people make mistakes. I always feel bad when I can’t review a book in a timely manner, but I’ve learned it’s always best to let the publicist know that you’re struggling to make a commitment. They are people too, and they understand.

4. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.

This is something I will probably always struggle with, but I’m trying to get better. It’s hard when you follow “superstar” bloggers who surely have more followers, get more comments, read more books, have a more eye-catching blog design, get more review copies…you get the picture! We’re all different, and we all have different strengths. Be yourself no matter what.

5. Keeping track of comments and commenting back is HARD. But try to do these things anyway.

Commenting is definitely one of the hardest things about blogging for me. Which is silly and doesn’t make sense, right? Finding bloggers who read the same books you do is ultimately one of the most rewarding parts of blogging. But when you have limited time for blogging to begin with, taking even more time to comment back and visit those bloggers who leave comments is something I have to make myself do. And sometimes I suck at it. For all those bloggers who I don’t respond to right away, I apologize. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t always have time.

6. You may think your blog is your life, but it’s not.

Repeat after me. Don’t feel bad if you need to take time off. Don’t feel bad if you want to spend time with you family instead of blogging! My blog is an important part of my life, but there is a lot more to me than just this blog.

Six Blogging Goals for the Future

1. Read more.

I mean, duh.

2. Write shorter reviews.

I feel like my reviews are too long, and I’d love to cut them down by at least 200 words or more. Most of my reviews are about 1,000 words. Is this normal? I’d love to hear about how many words your reviews are on average.

3. Write my reviews faster.

I stress over how well my reviews are written. I spend a lot of time proofreading and editing, and then at the end of the day I’m still not 100% happy with them. This is taking way too long!

4. More interaction with authors.

I do love hosting authors on the blog, and doing interviews. But honestly, they are so time-consuming and I don’t think readers are that interested. Most of my interviews have pretty low stats.

5. Find more like-minded bloggers and leave more comments.

I really want to get better at this, I do! I have a handful of blogs that I visit and leave comments on (and you know who you are), but there are so many awesome bloggers out there that I just don’t interact with much. And it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s a time thing.

6. Read some backlist books from my favorite authors

Reading anything except review books is nearly impossible these days. But I’d love to get to a place where I can stop requesting/accepting so many review books and actually have time each month to read some backlist books.

Six Posts with the Most Views

I don’t usually have time to dig deep into all the stats information on WordPress, but it’s actually pretty cool. I thought it would be fun to go all the way back to the beginning and see what my most viewed posts are.

Getting Free Books From Publishers – What’s Your Opinion?

This is my most viewed post ever. And believe it or not, I still get views every single day. I really need to write more posts like this!

Have You Heard of Libib? It’s the Online Book Cataloging Website of my Dreams!

It’s funny that this post is so popular, especially since I stopped cataloging my books?? Oops. Yeah, I have so many and so little extra time that my intentions to completely scan each book in my library lasted about a week before I gave up.

You Just Won a Giveaway! Now What?

I’m afraid the title of this post misled a lot of people, who saw this in their email inbox and assumed they had won something. Oopsies. I really wasn’t trying for clickbait (I don’t even think “clickbait” was a word back in 2013). I was actually ranting because I had won a giveaway but I never received the book I won.

HANDLING THE UNDEAD by John Ajvide Lindqvist- Review

Now this puzzles me. This is my all-time most viewed book review. Huh? Now granted, it was one of the first books I reviewed, but still!

Waiting on Wednesday – STILETTO by Daniel O’Malley

Another “huh?” I can only guess that the author saw this and helped promote this post.

Bloodydamn Good: GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown – Review

Now this review makes more sense. I loved this series and the second book was outstanding.

Six Posts That I Wish More People Would Read

Ah, my step children. I poured a lot of love into these posts, and yet. WHY DID NO ONE READ THEM??

Fifty Shades of Purple Prose

Yes, I wrote this way back when. I had a pretty funny experience when Fifty Shades first came out, and I wanted to do a combination review/story about trying to buy the book. This was before the book became “famous.” (or should I say “infamous”?)

Blog, Interrupted – Or How I Got Kicked Off WordPress.com and ended up on WordPress.org

I am still feeling the sting of this experience, but it seems like not that many people were interested. I really thought this would be a more popular post, but oh well.

Blog Tour Blues

This post is related to the last one a bit. I touch on why WordPress kicked me out, as well as another humiliating blog tour experience. Yeah, and what have you learned from those experiences, Tammy? Nothing? Oh right, you’re still doing blog tours!

 Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

I wrote this on a whim, I was bored and I wanted to do something different. It was really fun to write, but it remains one of my least-visited posts, for some reason. I know you all would rather not know the truth…

The Best Flow Chart EVER for Book Bloggers: THE BIG FIVE PUBLISHERS

Seriously, this is the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet, in regards to book blogging. If you haven’t seen it, please click now!

What Keeps Me Up At Night

This is so sad. I don’t think anyone saw this post. I wrote it way back in my first few months of blogging, when no one was following me. It’s a love letter to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, which to this day is one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Wow, that was cathartic? Depressing? Not sure yet. Moving on…

And finally, if you’re still reading this, I’m actually having a GIVEAWAY! 

In celebration of six years of blogging, I will be randomly selecting SIX winners, who can pick ANY BOOK I’ve reviewed on this blog (including Handling the Undead, lol. You know you want to read it…). No Rafflecopter this time, this will be simple (or maybe not). Simply send an email to booksbonesbuffy(at)att(dot)net with the subject line “Six Year Giveaway” and tell me which book you’d love to read. I’ll give you, let’s say, two weeks? INTERNATIONAL! Yes, anyone can enter, provided The Book Depository ships to your country.


In conclusion, I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep blogging for so long (although I know in the blogging world there are many blogs that are much older than mine). Everyone is talking about the “decline of blogging” but I say HELL NO. There is no timeline for doing something you love.

Thanks everyone, for sticking with me!

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Posted July 11, 2017 by Tammy in Blogoversary Event, Giveaways / 49 Comments

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49 responses to “Six Years of Blogging – Here’s What That Looks Like

  1. Marian

    Happy blogoversary. I’m happy you’re reviewing books because if you really like a book, chances are excellent I will like it, too. Thanks for doing it.

  2. Happy 6th Blogoversary, Tammy:)). I really love your reviews and enjoy communicating with you – though completely understand what you say regarding wishing you could comment more and interact with a wider ranger of bloggers… I don’t think WordPress is very well set up for that. In the meatime, I look forward to reading more of your book reviews and sharing recommendations in the years to come!
    sjhigbee recently posted…While the Morning Stars SingMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Thanks Sarah, yes WordPress is really only friendly to other WordPress users. It’s one of my pet peeves with them. Which is sad because I have lots of Blogger friends too, and I know it’s harder for them to interact.

    • Tammy

      Thanks Freda! I think 11/22/63 is one of my favorite Stephen King books, I may have to do a reread some day:-)

    • Tammy

      Good luck, Eileen, it’s amazing how I still struggle with writing reviews, even after writing so many:-)

  3. Congratulations are in order! Happy 6th Blogversary!
    (where’s the party???) 😀 😀

    And I totally agree with your final comment about there being no timeline for doing something you love: this is not a profession, this is not work, or a place where we have to do more or better than others. We are here because we love books, we love reading and we enjoy sharing these things with other like-minded people – and that’s more than enough. Here’s to the next 6 or 60 years! Or more… 🙂
    Maddalena@spaceandsorcery recently posted…Short Story Review: MONO NO AWARE, by Ken LiuMy Profile

  4. todd

    Six years, wow! That is an accomplishment, just sticking with something for that length of time. And I certainly hope to still be here reading your reviews 6 years from now. Congratulations!

    I loved that publishers flow chart earlier this year. Really amazing how many are out there and how they’re tied together.

    • Tammy

      I’m always amazed at how many imprints are out there, and all of them are mostly under the umbrella of the Big Five Publishers. Pretty cool, I think!

  5. Happy blogoversary! And I love your tips- thanking publicists and not letting your blog take over your life are such good ones. I’ll have to go check out some of those posts. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…Tuesday Tagline #47My Profile

    • Tammy

      I still do giveaways, too, I have to admit it’s fun to see that huge spike in your stats now and then! But I’m trying to stick to giveaways where publishers will pay for the books, as much as I can.

  6. Happy blogoversary, Tammy!! I love this post (and your blog). I’m sure Ready Player One and 11/22/63 would make my list, too. You are making me realize how long I’ve been waiting for the Ready Player One movie!

    I’m glad you plan to stick around. The blogging community has changed so much over the years, but I think it is in a really great place right now. Maybe it’s declining in numbers, but it definitely isn’t declining in quality.
    Jennifer | Book Den recently posted…Book Review | Meddling Kids by Edgar CanteroMy Profile

    • Tammy

      That’s a good point, Jennifer, there are still lots of quality book bloggers out there:-) Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it:-D

  7. Happy 6th birthday! Your blog was one of the first ones that I read when I really got into blogging, and I still come check you out as much as possible. Here is looking forward to your tenth birthday!

  8. Happy blogaversary, Tammy! These are all such amazing tips. I have to say #2, always sending links and thanking publicists is the one I tell others all the time too because publishers really appreciate it and it also helps your blog gain reputation and grow – it’s a win-win! And LOL, I also want to aim for writing shorter reviews because I know I can be so long-winded, and yet I just can’t seem to help myself 😛 I also can’t agree more with you on Blog Tour Blues, that’s a must-read for any blogger, imo! Too many horror stories out there, and too many new reviewers are taken advantage of by some of these tour companies and authors.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…An Interview with Laurence MacNaughton, Author of the Dru Jasper SeriesMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I think you and I write about the same length book reviews, lol. I know what you mean, sometimes I just have so much to say and I don’t really want to cut anything out!

  9. I just got my first few ARCs from publishers and I hadn’t thought about sending them a Thank You. Do you do that through Netgalley or Edelweiss? (Those are the only ARC websites I’m aware of.)

    This is all great advice! And happy bloggoversary! 😀

    • Tammy

      I’ve never actually sent a thank you to publishers through NetGalley or Edelweiss, although now there is a box in NetGalley where you can write something to the publisher when you send in your review, so that would be a good place to start. I usually send thank yous when I get a physical ARC in the mail, and I know the publicist who sent it to me. It’s a great way for them to get to know you, and you’ll be on their radar when new ARCs become available:-)

  10. I’ve kept this tab open for the past couple days so I could find the time to sit down and read this properly.

    11/22/62 is also one of my favorite books! Not ashamed to say that the ending had tears running down my face 🙁 Also has one of my favorite quotes too: “If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples. I’ll love your face no matter what it looks like. Because it’s yours.”

    Funny you bring up the giveaways because that was exactly was I started doing them too XD and just like, I think I’ve maybe gotten 1 or 2 new followers from it?

    P.S. I’ve been using that religously ever since you published it XD With all the interviews I do, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to email the same publisher multiples times a month because I didn’t release that they also this small imprint too Lol

    Congrats on the 6 years!!!!!
    DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape) recently posted…Author Interview and Giveaway: Krist CharishMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I know, that guide to publishers and their imprints is invaluable. I’m so afraid that website will take it down one of these days. Thanks so much for stopping by, DJ!

  11. Tammy, what an absolutely excellent post. I was nodding along to so many of these in agreement. Well done with your six years. I’ve already tried to start implementing a few of your goals, such as read more of my own books (by requesting less review copies). It’s difficult though because there are so many new books that I see and then want! Blogger envy – it’s kind of inevitable really. There are some gorgeous looking blogs out there for example. And, speaking of blog names. Don’t get me started. Lynnsbooks! For goodness sake. That could have been better thought out. Still who knew! I like your blog name though and definitely wouldn’t change it. Here’s to another six years of blogging.
    Lynn

    • Tammy

      Ha ha, I never thought Lynn’s Books was a bad name! But I guess we’re more sensitive to our own choices, right? Thanks for sticking with me, I’m so happy we’ve become blogging buddies:-)

  12. Happy anniversary! I’ve enjoyed your long reviews. I should really comment more often but I’m terrible about leaving comments.
    I also agree that bloggining isn’t going away. Perhaps some of the blogging for money people are quitting but not us who do it as a hobby. It’s great to read passionate blogs, like yours.
    Mervi recently posted…Mercedes Lackey: One Good KnightMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Hi Mervi, thanks for stopping by! I’m the same way, I’m usually a “lurker” on blogs, although I try to leave comments whenever I have something to say.

  13. Happy blogoversary!! I think the things you have learned are SO important, and so accurate! I feel much better now that I can calm down a bit about my blog- though I still have a few commenting freakouts from time to time, just because I swear there will never be enough time in the day to do everything! I also am reading a bunch of your posts that didn’t get enough love now, because they sound really interesting! Hope you have another great 6 years!!
    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted…Tag TimeMy Profile

  14. HI! I bit late, but still sincere: “Happy Birthday!” or blogoversary… I know and understand what you said… with 5 years of my own blog and over 7y since I started blogging… and I my own conclusions are pretty much the same. But we do it because we like it… but it soooo god when the readers/authors appreciate you :)))
    Good luck!

  15. Happy Blogoversary! Despite not being a Buffy fan, I quite like the name of your blog. Blog names can be a bit interchangeable but yours stands out which is a good thing. Is the Bones bit for the TV programme Bones? Your 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me post is certainly varied! Sounds like you’ve done a lot of cool stuff over the years.
    Lorraine recently posted…Read in May, Part 2 (Catch Up Post!)My Profile

    • Tammy

      Yep, you got it! When I started the blog, the TV show Bones was one of my favorites. It started to get weird near the end, but it’s still close to my heart:-) Thanks Lorraine!

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